The Detox Paradox – Should You Purify Your Way To Clearer Skin?
Detoxify, purify, cleanse. If you’re keeping up with the latest advice on healthier, clearer skin, then you’re familiar with these buzz words and their importance as one of the components in a complexion-improving skincare routine. Pollutants from the environment and toxins in your diet can result in dull, tired, sallow looking skin. Excessive toxic build up in the deeper layers of the skin causes inflammation, which can manifest as, dermatitis, premature aging (wrinkles and fine lines), rashes, eczema and acne. Detoxifying the skin helps unclog pores (bacteria, pollution, and makeup can sit on our skin, plugging up pores with gunk not easily washed away with regular washing) and it leaves skin looking brighter and smoother and feeling ‘fresher.’
What Are Toxins Anyway?
A toxin is anything that damages the body. Toxins can be from the air, water, food, mold and clothing. Chemicals found in pollution particles, such as from fuel, diesel and pesticides are sometimes 20 times smaller than pores and can infiltrate deeper layers of the dermis, causing not only inflammation but also a cellular-level reaction that leads to lost elasticity and firmness from the breakdown of collagen and elastin. When breathed in, pollutants generate circulating free radicals and increase our inflammatory state by activating our immune response, which can accelerate signs of aging. Pollutants, combined with UV rays from sunlight create a highly reactive molecule that causes damage to protein, collagen and lipids in the skin. This results in weaker barrier function – squalane, a moisturizer found naturally in skin is depleted by pollution, and dry skin is more susceptible to pollution’s damaging effects.
How to Be A (Age-Defying) Toxic Avenger
First, what exactly does detoxing skin mean? A skin detox is any method that helps the skin eliminate the body’s waste and toxins. Signs that your skin may be due for a detox: dull, sallow, skin, uneven skin tone, dry or sensitive skin, oiliness, wrinkles and sagging. Skin is the body’s largest organ and is one of the main organs involved in eliminating wastes and impurities from your body, mainly through perspiration. After a skin detox you can expect clearer, smoother, brighter looking skin. Have no fear, detoxing doesn’t have to be daunting; a few key changes can go a long way:
Wash Like You Mean It
Wash your face every day with non-drying cleanser. Always remove makeup and make sure to banish dirt and impurities by using a clean washcloth or a facial cleansing brush (starting with once or twice a week to see how your skin reacts). Any time antioxidants touch your face, that’s one more counterattack on those complexion-killing free radicals, so a cleanser that contains them is an added bonus.
MIA 2 Facial Cleansing Brush, $169, clarisonic.com
Simple sugar, like refined carbohydrates cause your insulin levels to spike, which leads to inflammation. Inflammation produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, resulting in sagging skin and wrinkles. Digested sugar permanently attaches to the collagen in your skin by a process called glycation. Aside from increasing the effects of aging, glycation can also exacerbate skin conditions like acne and rosacea. Opt for complex carbohydrates like brown rice and vegetables and do your best to follow an anti-inflammatory diet of healthy fats (olive oil, avocados), lean protein (salmon), fiber (like broccoli and cauliflower), and antioxidants (berries) if you want healthy, glowing skin.
Draw Out The Dirty
Ingredients like clay and charcoal draw out impurities and help boost skin’s luminosity. Look for masks that contain these glow-inducing goodies.
Bare Minerals Dirty Detox Skin Glowing and Refining Mud Mask, $35, bareminerals.com
Soak Yourself To Smoother Skin
Epsom, seaweed and eucalyptus have a purifying effect and leave skin smoother and softer post-bath.
The Organic Pharmacy Detoxifying Seaweed Bath Salt, $73, dermstore.com
Seal It With A Serum
Vitamin C builds resilience and boosts radiance by fighting free radical damage caused by UV damage and environmental pollutants. After cleansing apply an antioxidant-rich serum to your face, neck and décolletage.